Shafqat Mahmood announces to reopen educational institutes from Jan 18

F.P. Report

Federal Education Minister said Friday that the educational institutes to reopen for grade 9 to grade 12 from January 18 in the whole country.

Addressing the media after a meeting of federal and education ministers and health authorities with the NCOC, he said the schools for Grade 1 to Grade 18 students will now be reopened on February 1 instead of January 25. He said the higher education institutes would also reopen as per the previous announcement on February 1.

The federal and provincial education and health ministers attended the meeting of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) which was chaired by Planning Minister Asad Umar.

He said no student will be promoted this year without taking the examinations and keeping this in view they have decided to re-open the educational institutes from grade 9 to grade 12 as they will have to sit in the examinations.

The federal minister said the education ministers and health authorities would again meet before the reopening of the schools for grade 1 to grade 8 students.

He said they would decide the authorities may opt to stick to online learning with children getting homework from schools weekly in the cities where the positivity ratio is quite high. He said the final decision in this regard would be taken in the next meeting.

“When we decided to reopen the school earlier the positivity rate of the coronavirus was 1.9percent and when we again closed the schools on November 26 the positivity rate has rocketed to 11.7 percent.

He said the critical situation still persists as still, the positivity rate is above 6percent while the average mortality rate is 44 which is almost as same as it was at the time when we decided to close the schools.

He said everyone knows that the students learning process has been greatly disturbed due to the closure of the educational institutes but they have to take into account the health matters as well. Shafqat acknowledged that still there was no letup in the coronavirus cases and the situation is quite alarming and they would keep an eye on the situation.

According to a poll, 88 percent of people think that schools should be closed amid the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 10,000 lives in the country since its outbreak. Whereas 12 percent are of the view that educational institutions should be reopened.

A writ petition had also been filed in the Lahore High Court challenging the government’s January 4 decision to reopen educational institutions across the country on Jan 18.

Advocate Syed Faisal Miran had petitioned the high court, naming Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and other relevant authorities as respondents.

He had stated that the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was proving to be more dangerous yet the government didn’t ready itself in advance to cope with the situation.